13th February 2006: Second of the ‘Casebook’ series, returning my ongoing theme of brotherly love with a rather sweet young man called Michael confessing all.
Dr Wallace’s Casebook
Case 2: “My Gay Brother”
When a guy comes into my surgery and says he wants to talk about the fact that he thinks his brother might be gay, my first thought is usually that he’s come to see me because he wants to talk about his own feelings in that direction.
But when a nineteen year old student called Dominic did just that a couple of months ago, I knew that what he was saying was true: that he really did want to talk about his older brother Michael’s sexual preferences.
You see, Dominic had been to see me on several occasions during his latter years at school to discuss his own sexuality and I knew that the fact he was attracted to other males wasn’t an issue for him now. Admittedly, he’d been a bit screwed up about it when he’d first come to talk with me, but, over the intervening years, he’d come to accept it – even embrace it – as being part of who he was. The last time we’d talked he was on the verge of telling his family about how he felt and was looking forward to heading off to university to find other like-minded guys.
That had been over a year ago.
Now here he was, returned home for the Christmas break, looking a lot more muscular than he had when I’d last seen him and with his hair bleached blond.
After telling him how well he looked, I asked him why it wasn’t his brother coming to talk me about whatever was troubling him.
“That’s the thing,” Dominic said. “I don’t think he wants to admit to it. I mean, it’s right out there – you know, really obvious to everyone including him – but he just doesn’t want to face up to how he feels.”
I noticed Dominic looked worried. Despite being so much fitter than he had been previously and the fact he was clearly exuding more self-confidence, his skin looked pasty and there were dark bags beneath his eyes. I would have put those down to his over-indulgences at the end-of-term parties at university if he hadn’t seemed so concerned about something.
“The last time I saw Michael,” I said, smiling, “he was about to get engaged…”
“Yeah, and that went ahead. He and Shauna are planning to get married next summer.”
“And yet you think he might be gay?”
Dominic chuckled humourlessly. “I know it.”
Without thinking, I picked up my pen and twisted the lid against the stem. “And what has drawn you to that conclusion?”
Dominic hesitated, as though suddenly unsure of how he wanted to play this. After a few seconds he asked, “Can I be totally frank with you? I mean, can you swear that what I say will be totally confidential?”
I nodded cautiously. “Within limits. If you tell me anything which endangers other people or –”
He shook his head. “It’s nothing like that. It’s just… well… sexual stuff. I want to know I can talk freely to you without you having to involve my parents or anything…”
I nodded. “When it comes to telling anyone anything, I might encourage you to do that sometimes, but the ball is always firmly in your court. You know that.”
He nodded. “Yeah. Okay.”
He seemed reluctant to continue unguided so I prompted him with, “So what makes you so sure that Michael is gay?”
After another brief hesitation, he said, “Well, you remember last time we talked, I said I was going to tell my parents about… well… ‘me’…?”
I nodded, laying my pen back down. “Yes, of course. How did it go?”
“I kept putting it off all through the summer and in the end, I told them after my first term at university. This time last year, actually.”
“And how did they take it?”
“Well, my mum cried and my dad had to go out and stand in the back garden for half an hour, so I can’t say it was the easiest evening we’ve ever spent as a family. But in the end it was okay. They got over it.”
He grinned and I responded with a small, cautious, smile. One had to be careful not to look overtly amused by stories such as this, even if the patient might appear to smile or even laugh when telling them.
“And how did Michael respond?” I asked.
“Well, that’s the thing. He was really interested in talking about it with me. He had loads of questions. I was kind of surprised by his reaction, but also flattered… you know?”
He went on, “I thought he was just trying to understand how his little brother was feeling… what I’d had to go through. But the kind of stuff he was asking… he was a bit too interested…”
“Michael probably hasn’t had a lot of contact with gay men,” I suggested. “I imagine that, since he works for the police, he’s probably been exposed to a lot of negative stereotyping about gay men. Maybe that’s why he was so interested in the fact that you’re gay… maybe he realised things aren’t as simplistic as the jokes in the staff locker-room.”
Dominic shook his head. “There was more to it than that. He was asking me stuff about how gay guys… you know… have sex and stuff…”
I smiled. “A lot of straight men are curious about that… they’d claim that their revulsion outweighs their fascination, but I’d –”
Dominic interrupted me with, “Yeah, I know that. I mean, I’ve had a lot of questions like that from mates and stuff. But there was a lot more to Michael’s interest… I need to tell you what happened a couple of nights later…”
“A couple of nights after you came out to your parents?”
He nodded. “Yeah. And to Michael. He was there too.”
“So what happened?”
Dominic paused and gave another humourless chuckle. “This is where it gets difficult.”
“You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”
He shook his head. “No, I want to. That’s why I came.” Then he became apologetic. “Unless you haven’t time… I mean, I don’t want to take too long…”
“Don’t worry about that – I’ve had a couple of cancellations so I’m running ahead today. In any case, if you’ve got something you want to talk about, Dominic, I can always find the time.”
He nodded. “Thanks. Okay. It’s just that this is a bit difficult. And I’m not sure how you’re going to react.”
“I’m not easily shocked.”
He smiled, paused again, and then found the words to go on. “It was late at night, after midnight, and my parents were asleep. I was in bed, reading a magazine and listening to some music on low. I heard Michael come in from seeing Shauna –”
“He still lives at home with your parents?” I cut in.
Dominic nodded. “He says he can’t afford anywhere that’s even half-decent. Him and Shauna are going to look for somewhere after they’re married.”
“Well, I heard him getting undressed in his bedroom and then he came to mine wearing just his boxer shorts. That was weird for a start – Michael and I have never been the kind of brothers to be naked or even half-naked around each other. We’ve just never had that kind of relationship…”
“So what did he want?”
“He said he wanted a chat. I thought maybe he’d had a bust up with Shauna so I agreed. Then he asked if he could get into my bed with me while we talked. The room was pretty cold.”
“And that was also pretty weird?”
“Yeah. I know some guys sometimes share a bed with their brothers, but Michael and I never did. But anyway, I just shrugged and made room for him like I didn’t mind. To be honest, I didn’t mind – I thought it was quite nice that he was being so friendly towards me since I’d come out – but it struck me as being very out of character for Michael.”
“He normally wouldn’t have been comfortable with that kind of intimacy?”
Dominic nodded. “Absolutely. Michael had always been really particular about having his space and privacy.”
“What did he want to talk about?”
“He started off going on about how great it was that I was so comfortable about being gay. That he was really proud of me. I realised from the smell of his breath and how he kept slurring his words that he was drunk. I replied by saying how great it was that he and Shauna were going to get married. That they made a lovely couple.
“But Michael kept turning things back around to my sexuality. Saying stuff about how he was sorry that he’d always kept himself to himself, that he should have shown me more affection over the years.”
“Do you think he thought maybe his standoffishness was responsible for shaping your sexuality?” I asked.
“No, I don’t think so. He was wanting to ask if we could be affectionate now. He said that now that he knew I was gay, he knew I wouldn’t be freaked out by the idea of the two of us… how did he put it… something like, ‘expressing our brotherly love.’ Something like that.”
“And what did you say?”
“I said of course I wouldn’t be. That, even if I hadn’t been gay, he was my brother and I loved him. Nothing could change that.”
“How did he respond?”
“Well, he hugged me. He’s a strong bloke and he sort of grabbed me and turned me to face him. So that we were lying face to face in the bed, him hugging me.”
“And how did you feel?”
“I was okay with it. I mean, it felt a bit weird in that we’d never done anything like that before, but I took what Michael had said at face value and thought that, because I’m gay, that somehow made it easier for him to express his affection toward me.”
“What happened next?”
Dominic paused before continuing: “He kissed me.”
“On the lips?”
“Yeah. And he kind of pushed his tongue into my mouth a bit.”
“What did you do?”
Dominic paused, clearly uncomfortable about recounting this part of the story. “Well, before I could decide what to do, he’d grabbed my hand and pushed it down to the front of his shorts. He held it there, and I… well… I guess I felt his cock…”
“Felt as in ‘being aware of’, of felt as in ‘actively rubbed’?”
Dominic looked very displeased with himself. “I suppose I kind of rubbed it.”
He became defensive. “I dunno. I dunno why I went along with any of it. It just happened and I suppose I… I dunno… maybe I was curious, or something. Or maybe it just felt nice to be like that with Michael after so many years of almost ignoring each other.”
I left a few seconds for him to calm down and then I said, gently, “I’m not forming any judgements about you, Dominic. I’m just trying to understand what happened – that’s all.”
He shrugged. “Yeah I know. I just… well… this is difficult, you know?”
I nodded. “Do you want to continue?”
“Yeah. If you don’t mind…”
“Of course I don’t. So what happened then… I’m guessing that Michael had an erection?”
“Yeah. I think that’s one of the reasons I started rubbing it, actually. It seemed really large… a lot bigger than mine.”
“So what happened?”
“He eased it out of his shorts and I squeezed it a little. Felt it throbbing against my palm. Then I moved my hand away, but Michael tried to put it back. I told him that I shouldn’t be touching him there but he said it was okay; that it was nice for us to be like that with each other and that he’d wanted to do this with me for ages but he’d never dared.”
“What did you do?”
“I put my hand back on his cock and wanked his foreskin, slowly. I’d heard guys at school saying they’d wanked off with their brothers so it didn’t seem like we were doing anything so terribly wrong.”
“What did he do?”
“He kissed me again. When I moved my mouth away, he kissed my cheek and my ear, and bit at my hair. He was breathing quite quickly against my face, really enjoying what we were doing.”
“Did it develop any further?”
Dominic hesitated. “No… not that time. I started wanking him properly and he climaxed quite quickly.”
“What happened after he’d climaxed? How did he react?”
Dominic shrugged. “He didn’t seem ashamed of what we’d done, if that’s what you’re wondering. He just apologised for getting cum on my teeshirt and on my duvet, and then went back to his own bedroom.”
“And how did you feel?”
Dominic looked uncertain. “I guess I enjoyed the feel of his cock… how big it felt and how hard it got just before he came. But I couldn’t understand why Michael had come into my bed. I suppose I just put it down to his being drunk.”
I thought about what he’d described. Michael’s sudden demonstration of affection after hearing that his brother was gay was certainly odd, but it didn’t necessarily mean that he himself was gay. It could have simply been the result of a hug that had got out of hand.
After a few seconds, I said, “Okay. So you said things hadn’t gone any further on that occasion. I take it there were other times?”
Dominic nodded. “I’d have just forgotten about what had happened that night if it hadn’t have started happening regularly…”
“Regularly? How often?”
He shrugged. “Not like every night or anything, but a couple of times a week.”
“When Michael was drunk?”
“Usually but not always.”
I nodded. “Okay. So what happened next – after that first night?”
“Well, it was like nothing had happened. Michael was just the same with me as he always had been – he wasn’t any more friendly towards me, but at the same time he didn’t go out of his way to avoid me. I’d expected some change, I suppose, and when there wasn’t one, I thought that maybe he’d been too drunk to remember what had happened.”
“How long was it before he came back to your room? I’m assuming that’s how it happened the second time…”
Dominic nodded. “A few nights at most. He was drunk – not so drunk as he had been the first time – and he came on the pretence of wanting a chat.”
“And he got into bed with you?”
“Yeah. I asked him if it was such a good idea, but he said something like, ‘We’re mates, Dom, it’s nice to get together once in a while.’ So I made room for him and he got in next to me.”
“What did he do?”
“He just hugged me at first. Then kissed the side of my cheek and my ear, rubbing my back and my arse. I felt his cock getting hard and pressing into me. Then he…”
Dominic tailed off.
I asked, “Did he move your hand to his crotch like he had the first time?”
“Not my hand.” He blushed.
I wasn’t sure what he meant. I must have looked a bit confused.
He went on, “My head. He gently but firmly pushed my face down to his cock, releasing it from his shorts and pressing it to my mouth.”
I was surprised but I tried not to show it. “What did you do?”
“I said, ‘No’. But he pleaded with me. He said he really wanted to try it and that I was the only guy he liked and trusted enough to ask this of. I told him it wasn’t right for us to be doing sexual things together, but he kept saying that it was; that it was just a way of developing our bond as brothers; that he knew other guys who did this with their brothers…”
“So did you do it?”
Dominic blushed a deeper shade of red which told me that he had. After a couple of seconds, he went on, “I thought, ‘What harm can there be in it?’ So I took his cock into my mouth and… well… basically, I gave him a blow job.”
“And did Michael enjoy it?”
Another hollow chuckle. “Jesus, yeah! He was grabbing at the back of my head, trying to cram as much of his cock down my throat as he could. He was humping my face so hard that the bed was creaking. He must have cum in less than a minute.”
“Was he apologetic again afterwards?”
Dominic said, “This time there was no mess to apologise for.” Then he realised what he’d just revealed and blushed once more. He went on, “He thanked me and then went back to his own room.”
“Did you enjoy doing it to him?”
Dominic looked uncertain. “I liked the fact his cock was so big…”
“But it had your older brother attached to it. How did that make you feel?”
“I wasn’t revolted by it; I can’t pretend I was. It might sound weird, but I kind of liked the fact that what we were doing was so… I dunno… taboo, I suppose. Does that make sense?”
He went on, “On the one hand, I really wasn’t comfortable about what we were doing. But on the other, I found the sordidness of it, the fact it would be seen by most people as being shockingly disgusting, kind of… well… exciting.”
“How long did it take him to return to your room for more?”
Dominic shrugged. “I dunno… I couple of nights, maybe.”
“And did you give him oral sex again?”
Dominic nodded. “For the next few visits, that’s what he wanted. It was only on the fifth or sixth occasion that he…”
He tailed off again. I knew what was coming.
I asked him, “How did it happen?”
Dominic took a deep breath; he was clearly feeling quite embarrassed by this. “I was sucking him and feeling his cock getting really hard like he was going to cum. But then he pulled me off and pulled my face up to his. He gave me a kiss and then turned me so that I was lying on my front. He yanked down my shorts, climbed on my back and…”
I didn’t say anything.
He went on, “He spat on his hand, rubbed his spit around my arsehole, and then pushed his cock into me.”
“Did you try to stop him?”
“I think…” He paused again, collecting his thoughts. “I think by then, I was expecting it. Waiting for it to happen. I think I’d sort of mentally prepared myself for it and… well… to be honest, it was the natural next step, wasn’t it?”
“So you wanted him to do it?”
He looked unsure. “I wouldn’t say I wanted it. It’s not something I like that much anyway. But if he hadn’t have done it, I suppose I’d have wondered why.”
“Did he enjoy it?”
“Of course he did. He was sweating like a pig and grunting. The bed was making a hell of a noise – the headboard was banging against the wall. I’m sure my parents must have woken up and heard us at it.”
“Did either of them mention anything?”
“No, but my dad gave me a funny look in the morning. That was all.”
I picked up my pen again and toyed with the lid, rotating it on the shaft. I asked him, “So that became a regular thing?”
He nodded. “After that, it was what we did. He’d come into my room, get into bed with me, we’d hug and I’d play with him ’til he got hard, then I’d suck him and, after a few minutes, he’d turn me over and… well… screw me, basically.”
I suppressed a smile. After all that he’d done and he’d told me, he still felt too shy to say the f-word to his GP.
“But even after all that,” I said, “I’m still not convinced that he might be gay. Perhaps it’s something that he wants to do with you as his brother but not other men. I don’t know why he’d want to have a sexual relationship with his brother – I suppose we’d have to leave his motives to a psychologist. But he’s probably totally straight in –”
“Yeah, I was thinking exactly the same thing,” he interrupted me. “Six months ago, I was thinking it was just some bizarre way of him showing me that he loved me. But then…”
He tailed off so I prompted him with, “Something happened during the summer?”
Dominic nodded. “I was seeing a guy at university called Nigel. He was a bit drippy, a bit too academic for me, but kind of fun to be around. We had similar senses of humour but the relationship wasn’t too serious.
“Anyway,” he went on, “I brought him back home for a couple of nights, primarily to get it into my mum’s head that I really am gay because she’d developed this embarrassing habit of trying to pair me up with her friends’ daughters.
“Michael took an instant shine to Nigel. He was openly flirting with him. I’d never seen him behave like that – it was totally bizarre!”
“Did Nigel know about you and Michael?” I asked.
“Of course not! As far as he was concerned, Michael was a happily engaged, big butch straight policeman. That was all I’d told him.”
“So what happened?”
“After all the flirting and surreal double entendres, I mentioned Michael’s odd behaviour to Nigel but he just said something like, ‘He’s pretty cool!’, so I left it there. I just thought maybe Michael was trying to prove to me that he was comfortable about being around my partner but was doing it in a weird way.
“Anyway, on the second night of us staying there, I woke up at about two in the morning and Nigel was missing from my room. At first I thought he must be in the loo, but then I heard low muffled sounds coming from Michael’s room. I crept out of bed and onto the landing and pushed Michael’s door open slightly.”
He paused at the unpleasantness of the memory, before going on. “They were so into what they were doing that they didn’t even hear me open the door.”
“What were they doing?”
“At that particular moment, Michael was on all fours with his arse sticking up and Nigel’s face was feasting on it like he hadn’t eaten in days. That’s one thing I can say for Nigel: he might have been a bit stuffy and formal, but – Christ – he knew ways of having fun with other guys that I hadn’t dreamed of until I met him!”
“So did you interrupt them?”
“No. I just stood in the doorway and watched them. Watched how much Michael was enjoying himself. I was amazed that he let Nigel… you know… screw him, and then that he sucked Nigel’s cock. I mean, he’d never done anything like that with me. And he kept telling Nigel to stop or slow down to delay his climax. Again, when he was with me, he just went at it like he wanted to get it over with as soon as possible.”
“Were you a little jealous?”
He considered the question. “I was pissed off that Nigel had sneaked out of my bed to go and shag my brother but I wouldn’t say –”
“I meant were you jealous of Nigel…”
He stared at me. “What do you mean?”
“Were you upset by the fact that Michael was being so much more… demonstrative with Nigel?”
Dominic shrugged. “I dunno. I was a little humiliated I guess.”
“But isn’t it obvious that Michael – assuming now that he is gay – would be much more eager to explore his sexuality with someone other than you? That he was just having a taste of a homosexual coupling with you because, as his brother, you were most accessible? But that also, as his brother, there were clear limits as to how far he could go with you?”
“He screwed me. What limits are you talking about?”
I nodded. “He screwed you, yes. But it was all very passionless and brief. You didn’t devour one another’s bodies the way that he and Nigel did.”
“He tried to kiss me the first couple of times.”
“But you rejected him. You set a clear boundary that you weren’t prepared to do anything with him that might imply an emotional dimension to your sexual relationship, and then you both kept your activities together within that boundary.”
“So why didn’t he try and satisfy me? You know, try to pleasure me instead of it all being so one-sided?”
“Did you ever ask him or try to manoeuvre things that way?”
“Yeah, but he always resisted it… it was only his cock that mattered, or that’s how it seemed.”
I spent a few moments considering why that might have been.
“Perhaps,” I said at length, “it comes back to biological necessity. Michael wanted to have sex another male from adolescence but until you declared yourself as being gay, he could see no way of achieving that. Especially as he works for the police…”
“When he saw the opportunity to experiment with another male,” I went on, “he took it, even though you’re his younger brother. He didn’t reciprocate your attentions because, as his brother, he doesn’t actually fancy you. That’s reasonable isn’t it?”
He shrugged. “I suppose. So what you’re saying is that Michael wanted to screw a guy, and I happened to be the most available.”
I nodded. “I wouldn’t put it so crudely myself, of course.”
He smiled. “Of course.”
I asked him, “Does he still come into your room when you’re at home?”
“Rarely… hardly ever, actually. He has other outlets now.”
I was intrigued. “Such as?”
He hesitated before saying, “Again, this is confidential, okay?”
He went on, “I’m no angel, Dr Wallace, and I wouldn’t claim to be. Sometimes I… you know… go looking for some fun in the toilets in the mall. That kind of stuff.”
“That’s very dangerous, Dominic,” I said, trying not to sound too strict or too prude. “You could end up messing your life up if you got caught doing that.”
“Yeah… I know. I’m careful.” He continued, “Anyway, one day I peeped over the top of cubicle at something going on and… well… I saw Michael getting stuck in. Or to be more accurate, some guy getting stuck into Michael.”
I raised my eyebrows. “I wonder what his fiancée would say.”
He shrugged. “I’m not going to be the one to tell her.”
I looked over at the clock. My next appointment should have been with me half an hour ago.
I said, drawing my papers together in an act that for most people signified the conclusion of the consultation, “Well, I’d agree with you, Dominic, that your brother is probably gay. What you do about it is really up to you.”
“Do you think what we did was wrong? In bed, I mean.”
It occurred to me that that was the real reason he was here; to be absolved of the guilt he must have been feeling about what he’d done to Michael and what he’d allowed Michael to do to him.
I said, “I don’t think either of you did anything wrong. You helped your older brother take the first step to understanding his sexuality – he clearly hasn’t fully come to terms with things yet, but you helped him along the way. Surely that’s something to feel proud of…”
“You think so?” His eyes were suddenly much brighter.
I smiled and nodded. “Of course. You did him a hell of a favour. The kind of favour anyone would want a brother to do for them…”
He smiled. “I guess that’s true. I mean, when you put it like that.”
“That’s the way you’re going to have to think of it, otherwise you’ll end up tearing yourself apart for the sake of something that didn’t hurt either of you and, by all accounts, probably did one of you a lot of good.”
He nodded and stood up. “Maybe I should have a talk with him. I mean, try and get him to accept how he feels. Persuade him to call things off with Shauna.”
I shrugged. “That’s up to you. I wouldn’t dare advise you on that.”
“But it’s not fair that she doesn’t know. He needs to tell her.”
I nodded. “Quite so. But whether that should come from you or whether he needs to work that out for himself is something I wouldn’t dare speculate on…”
He nodded, smiled and then walked to the door. “Well, I’ll let you know what happens.”
I smiled back. “Make sure you do.”
And then he let himself out.
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